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Watford's Ikechi Anya says the arrivals from Udinese and Granada do not feel like loanees
Ikechi Anya has stressed the summer arrivals, like himself, do not feel like loaness despite the fact talks over his long-term future have yet to start.
Anya was one of 14 players to arrive on loan at the beginning of the season, 12 of which came from a Pozzo-owned club.
But Anya stressed: “I think with any loan deal, you go to a club but you are human and you get a feel for the club – I think Watford’s a family-orientated club.
“I think if you ask most of the loanees if they would be happy to stay for next year, I think most of them would say yes.
“We don’t feel like we are on loan. We are all one big group. I can understand where the negative comments are coming from because it is the first time this has happened but, as a team, we all feel like we’re a close unit.”
When asked if talks over a permanent move to Watford have started, he replied: “No. I’m on loan from Granada and I’ve got another year on my contract there.
“I think Granada and Watford will start talking soon but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves because you don’t know what’s going to happen in football.
“I’m sure the club and my agent will talk and we will see what happens.”
Anya came back into the starting line-up on Saturday at Birmingham City following an injury lay-off; scoring one and setting up another two goals.
The 25-year-old retained his place on Tuesday night at Ipswich, albeit on the left flank this time, and he again found the net.
Anya had only made three league starts before he came into the team at Birmingham but has impressed in both outings during the last week.
The former Wycombe Wanderers academy graduate has praised the impact of head coach Gianfranco Zola.
“The gaffer knows what my strengths and weaknesses are and he tries to help me learn every day,” Anya said.
“The gaffer is always out with us after training and I have been practising a lot with both my left foot and my right because I like to think I can play both sides as a wing-back. It is nice to see the hard work paying off on the pitch where it counts.”
Zola has been equally impressed with Anya’s displays, not only in the last week but during the season as a whole.
The Italian said: “Ikechi has brought us some freshness. But this isn’t a new thing. When Anya comes in, he has always given something to the team.
“He has the right attitude. He can play on the left or on the right and he gives us something different to the other two players that normally play in that position.
“I have been really pleased and impressed with his performances.”
Zola was non-committal though when asked whether Anya had done enough to secure a permanent move to Vicarage Road.
The Hornets boss said: “I think it is too early to say. There are still many games and a lot to play for. The contribution we are expecting from Ikechi, and the others here, is still big. So he has to keep performing.
“But he is certainly doing a good job to get my consideration and the consideration of all the team.
“He needs to keep on going. It is not enough to do it for two or three games. We have 13 finals between now and the end of the season so we need the maximum from everyone.”
Watford are currently third in the table, three points behind Hull City in the automatic places and eight points below Cardiff City, although the Dragons have a game in hand.
Anya says it will be an exciting finish to the season: “There are four or five teams in the mix for second and they all are very high quality. We have all got to play against each other as well so it’s going to be very entertaining and hopefully for everybody concerned with Watford, it’ll be good for us.”
However, Anya stressed the emphasis has not shifted from securing a play-off place to chasing an automatic spot.
He said: “When you start putting expectations on yourself then that is when you’re going to start going down the league.
“Against Crystal Palace, even though we drew 2-2 and it was a bad result, we looked at that as we got a point and if we get three points at Birmingham then that point would be good.
“If we were focused on getting second, then I think we’d have been more depressed about that point against Palace.
“It’s a cliché in football but we’ll take each game as it comes and we will just see where we are at the end of the season.”
Read more comments from Anya in this week's Watford Observer, where he also talks about the importance of Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra.